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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Commission opts to close Blue Springs for 2019 season

Jackson County Parks and Recreation Director Rett Daniels addressed the Board Tuesday in reference to Blue Springs and the upcoming season. 

Daniels said they had advertised for lifeguards and they received five eligible applicants. Daniels said, “Typically, we hire 10-12. The biggest issue we had was there wasn’t a local training for new people to get certified so all we could rely on were the people we had last year that were certified and have another year.  With that being said, there is no law, but by Red Cross guidelines, they suggest one guard per 50 people. So, what we typically do is we will have a minimum staffing of four people on the water at all times and I will reserve that fifth person as an on-duty but they put in a rotation for every two hours. I can’t work them nine hours straight on the water. That is one of my concerns being limited on eligible, life-saving personnel. We typically run six to eight hundred people on the weekend and we were only going to be open on Thursday through Sunday because that’s our highest amount of people and personally, I don’t feel like we have an adequate amount of staffing to operate the facility this year.”

Commissioner Chuck Lockey said, “I’ve talked with FACT and there issue is a safety issue and there are a lot of things out there that need to be attended to. The safety issue is what I have for the children and the adults out there overrides a lot. We can’t be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day but if we can make some things happen we could possibly have a shorter season or maybe delay the opening but I just don’t think right now is the time.”

Daniels said aside from the debris, he would not have more than five guards period. Lockey said, “And that’s the concern.”  Daniels told the Board that the guards were high school kids and they’ve got vacation, summer plans, some are still in school, and if I’ve got one call in, I got three on the water and I’ve either got to stop them at the gate when I get 100 people in there. 

Commissioner Jim Peacock asked if there was anywhere around that would have life guards that we could reach out to that could help us.  

Chairman Clint Pate said that he had heard on a news channel that the county had elected not to open but it wasn’t us.”  Daniels said that was right but that it wasn’t anyone’s fault but more of a lack of communication. 

The Times contacted Chipola College about the life guard classes offered in the past and about the possibility of a lifeguard class for potential guards for Blue Springs at a later date this season. Bryan Craven said, “There are two types of lifeguard courses: a full course for new lifeguards and a recertification course for currently certified lifeguards. Lifeguards serving at Blue Springs also need a waterfront module in addition to the regular certification course required for pool guards. Chipola facilities were affected by the Hurricane, resulting in a later opening date. Chipola needed to focus on training their own lifeguards to ensure a safe environment at the Chipola Pool.  Chipola is offering a re-certification lifeguard course which was open to any currently certified lifeguard. The full certification course for new lifeguards is not being offered due to the fact that Chipola already had employed the number of lifeguards needed to operate their facility. At the time of this decision, Jackson County had not decided whether to open Blue Springs. 

Craven went on to say that a recertification course is being offered. The recertification course is 15 hours with the full certification course for new guards with the waterfront module required for Blue Springs guards is 37 hours. The TIMES asked if it was a possibility to offer the class at this late date or what was the latest date one could be offered. Craven said, “Chipola could not offer another lifeguard course as it would conflict with Chipola swimming lessons and Marianna Swim Team practice. There are other third-party contract trainers that could provide a course for Blue Springs.”

A motion by Commissioner Lockey was made to follow the staff recommendations to not open Blue Springs, to post signs and notify the media to announce its closing. Jim Peacock seconded the motion and it passed 4-0 with Commissioner Willie Spires not present to vote. 

K-8 School adds the dining hall as progress continues

Jackson County School Board Director of Facilities and Construction, Stuart Wiggins is pleased with the progress being made on the construction of the K-8 school located on Caverns Road. 

He was pleased that the dining hall is now beginning to take shape with the foundation poured and rafters and beams going up. The dining hall is adjacent to the kitchen and will double as a multi-purpose room. Wiggins said, “We will be able to feed several classes of children in there and when we take the tables out and just put chairs, we will be able to seat the entire school to watch anything that would be on the stage. It’s going to be pretty big.”

Stuart outlined the complexity of the cafeteria/dining hall, “With this school being a K-8, there will actually be two separate dining areas with a moveable wall.  The larger dining hall will be elementary which will be K-5 and then the six through eight will be on the smaller side.”

Progress on the middle school gym is also continuing with work on the overall K-8 school remarkably two weeks ahead of schedule. The middle school gymnasium will be on the north end of the middle school wing. Once the gymnasium is built, they will start building the classrooms which will run down the west side of the campus. There will be three separate hallways that will tie together to a main hallway that will encompass the entire middle school wing. The middle school wing on the south end will terminate at the administration media center wing.

The elementary (K-5) will not have a gym per se but rather a physical education facility. They will begin work on that following the completion of the middle school gym.  The elementary classrooms will be four separate hallways that will be tied together down to the administration media center wing.

About the completion date, Wiggins said, “We still have May 14, 2020 as our completion date and even though we are two weeks ahead of schedule, we are sticking with that date. This gives us plenty of time to move the three schools into this building prior to school starting in August of 2020.  We are about 14-15 months away from being finished.” 

Superintendent Larry Moore is pleased with the progress of the K-8 school and more so that it is two weeks ahead of schedule, “We are very excited with the progress of the construction of the K-8 school. The job managers are very confident that the school will be completed on time.  It is exciting.” 

Moore maintains optimistic about the K-8 school About the consolidation of the three schools into one K-8 school, Moore said, “It is a much-needed move and a cost saving measure. It will be well over $1 million a year that we will be able to realize in actual savings. It will be a major boost to the Jackson County School system just from an operational standpoint.”  

Marianna Lady Bulldogs are DISTRICT CHAMPIONS

  • Published in Sports

The Marianna High School Lady Bulldogs capped off their district play Thursday night in grand fashion – with a 20-0 win over Godby to claim the DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIP!  Marianna finished with a perfect 6-0 district record, 23-1-1 overall. Their only loss came on a close battle on the road with 8A class Chiles. The tie came on a rain-called game with Holmes County with the Lady Dawgs avenging that tie later in the season with a 5-4 win. 

Marianna’s Ace Chloe Temples was in the circle and it took just three innings with her defense putting up 20 runs behind her to claim the victory. Temples was one walk and one hit batter shy of a perfect game, throwing a no-hitter with no errors behind her. No runner was allowed to make it past first base.

For the Lady Dawgs, they racked up 15 hits, took advantage of two walks, seven Godby errors to round out their 20 runs on the board. 

Senior Deana Holland made her night memorable with two hits, three runs scored and three RBIs, followed closely by Temples who had three hits, two RBIs and one run scored. Lexie Spooner had a banner night with three RBIs, two hits and one run scored, followed by Annie Beebe with two hits, two RBIs and one run scored. Lauren Brock had two hits, one walk and three runs scored, with Gabby Bess and Angel Curry picking up one hit, two runs scored and one RBI each. On board with one hit and two runs scored was Cheyann Blackmon, with Jade Hendrix and Amari Brown scoring a pair of runs each. Lauryn Tucker came through with a hit and an RBI, with Brayden Williams picking up a run scored and an RBI while Jayden Sorey drew a walk. 

Marianna was scheduled to host Bay High School last night (Wednesday) for a chance to move on in the playoffs.  

Chipola softball is World Series bound to Utah

  • Published in Sports

The Chipola Lady Indians are headed to Utah to compete in the Junior College Softball World Series! They claimed their spot in the World Series after a nine-inning battle against Florida Southwestern State College with a 2-1 win. To get to this pivotal game, Chipola was in win or go home situation after losing a hard-fought 6-5 battle against College of Central Florida on May 3. 

The Lady Indians did just that, battled to a 12-2 win over Seminole State College of Florida and a 12-1 win over Indian River State College before taking it to extra innings for the bid to the World Series.

For this game, coaches Belinda and Jimmy Hendrix sent Amy Woodham to the circle. Woodham went the distance and picked up the win. Woodham threw seven innings on Sunday before the game was called due to weather and picked up where she left off Monday morning. She allowed just one run on two hits, two walks and struck out five batters. Florida Southwestern countered with a trio of pitchers in defeat. 

Chipola collected just six hits with Mikayla Lewin garnishing two of those hits and scoring one of Chipola’s two runs. The HERO of the day goes to Lauren Finch when she launched a shot over the centerfield fence in the top of the ninth inning to give Chipola the lead, a lead that would hold and give them a bid for the World Series. Finch ended the game with one hit, one RBI and one run scored all on one swing of the bat. Ally Clegg had one hit and one RBI, followed by Sydney Mclain and Taylor Scala with one hit each. Thais Uyema drew two walks with Candela Figueroa, Taylor Scala and Haley Sandridge all drawing one walk each. 

The Indians will head to Utah with a 47-5 record for a chance at another World Series championship. The tournament is scheduled for May 22-25 in St. George, Utah. 

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